By Deirdre Fryer, regional product manager, SYSPRO Africa
Digital transformation was all anyone could talk about in 2018, a trend that will undoubtedly continue in the new year. But, how far have local companies actually come in pursuit of their digital transformation goals?
A study conducted in early 2018 by World Wide Worx, in partnership with SYSPRO, shows that companies are becoming more and more aware just how vital intelligent software systems are to their success. In fact, 78% of IT decision makers believe enterprise resource planning (ERP) is essential to their business.
This is perhaps why the integration of emerging technologies into ERP will be such an important point of focus for business technology in 2019.
Now more than ever – companies will look to ERP to help them do business faster, smarter and more affordably.
Looking at the coming year’s ERP trends, we’re provided with a fairly accurate picture of how local businesses will harnessing technology to gain a competitive edge.
Greater focus on flexibility
There’s been a massive shift towards mobility in business and this will have a major impact on the technology companies invest in over the coming year.
In fact, the World Wide Worx study reveals that 43.2% of companies have plans to increase mobile business software usage. More importantly, these companies will look to software to help them make quicker decisions.
Systems with mobile ERP capabilities allow companies to access their entire database of business information from anywhere on any device
There’s no limit to the revenue opportunities constant access to real-time information creates. The sales force is able to provide customers with a quicker, more accurate service, and overall productivity is increased through access to supplier and inventory data.
Mobile ERP is also becoming easier to use through new developments, such as SYSPRO’s web-based user interface, Avanti. The interface provides users with the same seamless ERP experience, no matter where they are accessing the system from.
Ease-of-use is increasingly a top priority for companies when it comes to successful tech deployments. This is according to market intelligence company, Aberdeen, which recently conducted a very positive review of Avanti.
More sophisticated tech at more affordable prices
Companies continuously expect technology to enable them to do more for less. In light of this, affordability will be a major area of focus for IT in 2019.
It’s hardly any wonder – given how synonymous cloud has become with cost-saving – that cloud technology is now so ubiquitous. Cloud will certainly play a massive role in increasing the accessibility of ERP.
This is because it enables businesses to pay for their ERP software as a service, without the cost implications that come with on-premise hardware and in-house support.
And with solutions like SYSPRO Cloud, implementations can be tailored to meet companies’ unique requirements, providing businesses with even greater flexibility.
Unparalleled agility, increasingly accurate insights
With the increasing pace at which the world is turning, agility has undoubtedly become the right to play where businesses are concerned. This means companies not only need to make decisions more quickly, they also need to be more accurate in their decision-making - a trend that will become increasingly prevalent in 2019.
Cue the power combo of IoT, AI and ERP.
All together, these technologies have become synonymous with the ability to generate valuable business insights quickly.
IoT enables businesses to connect key devices across their operations. Think, for example, of the various machines that operate in a manufacturing environment. When the unstructured data from these connected devices is fed into the ERP, companies are provided with a more accurate overview of their businesses than ever before.
In fact, without IoT, this wealth of business-critical information would otherwise remain untapped.
Ultimately, it’s the analysis of these new streams of unstructured data that provides businesses with the insights they need to adapt their offerings to evolving business requirements. In other words, by also integrating AI into their ERP technology, businesses become incredibly agile and responsive.
And as the volume of unstructured data that businesses need to analyse increases, so AI will become increasingly important to the accuracy of the insights provided.
Depending on the sophistication of the technology in question, AI can even help to predict key business outcomes. When combined with ERP and IoT, AI is already providing businesses with the questions they have yet to ask.
In fact, when SYSPRO showcased its AI and IoT capabilities at a June 2018 analyst roadshow, research and advisory firm, Mint Jutras, pegged this technology as a game-changer within the manufacturing and distribution industries.
This year is expected to be full of exciting developments within the ERP space. ERP systems continue to evolve at a rapid pace – providing a promising outlook for local companies and their digital transformation journeys.